Re: newbie needs advice

On Wed, 5 Oct 2011 09:59:12 +0000 (UTC), John Martin
<johnmartin99@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I've only been at this family history lark a few days and already I'm
confused by the number of sites willing to accept money for info which
in my naivety I assumed was in the public domain.
Don't taxpayers pay for the census in the first place?

They do but what they don't pay for is the additional work often done
by others to make it easier to find information in the censuses.

Anyway what I really need is advice on which service to pay for, I'm
hoping to find a single site rather than having to remember several,
is that possible?
Ancestors identified so far come from England, Northern Ireland, the US,
South Africa and the Netherlands plus a few with military service, do
I need to sign up with a service in each country?

I ask because I bought some credits with FMP and was disappointed with
the paucity of info returned - basically a reference number so I could
buy the relevant BMD certificate. Hey, I used an abbreviation already,
perhaps I will get my head round this stuff eventually!

Various sites give you free access to (primary or secondary) indexes
or similar such as :-
images of the GRO indexes for England and Wales commencing from their
beginning in 1837, fairly complete to about WW1 and progressing
forward in time - searchable by name, place, date
partial transcriptions of Scottish birth and marriage registers from
commencement in 1855 to 1874, some of 1875, 1881 and 1891; the
transcriptions do not include the entry numbers. - searchable by name,
place, date
miscellaneous extracts/transcriptions/images of baptisms, marriages
etc. in England and Wales
transcriptions of Irish indexes to 1953(-ish?) - searchable by name,
place, date; inclusion of Northern Ireland ceases at partition
many other various images and indexes
NOT free but includes BMD indexing up to 12-18 months ago; images of
register pages available online up 100y ago for births, 75y ago for
marriages and 50y ago for deaths - more recent entries can be
requested online as certified copies. Although it is a paid for site,
there is some matching that can be done via searches without using up
credits. /
The Library Edition of the latter is available free in many libraries
(but NOT as one of a library's home-user services), images of census
pages etc. can usually be downloaded onto a USB stick. Scottish
censuses are indexed but no images are available, England and Wales
censuses are indexed and images are available, Irish censuses are not
1901 and 1911 censuses for Ireland, images and searchable indexing. If
you can't find someone in GB then don't forget to look here.
Canadian censuses - again you might have someone "missing" who turns
up here.

There are a number of US states with records available on-line
including full images of register pages, searching for <name of state>
and "vital records" is the usual starting point while also watching
for .gov or .<2-letter state code>.us at the end of the URL although
some historical records might be hosted by non-government sites such
as e.g. Familysearch.

As a general matter elsewhere, a *.gov.<2-letter country code> is the
usual hallmark of a government site which might or might not be free
although (as with England and Wales) there can often be separate free
full or significant indexing on a non-government site.

There are also various cemetery indexes around the world, usually via
the owning company or local authority's website; New Zealand has quite
good coverage as also have a minority assortment of individual
councils in the UK. is worldwide and can be fairly
useful _if_ someone has entered the information. Searching with
"index" and a cemetery's official name should find most of these.

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